City Harvest Church: spider with $310 million web?

The personal provision shop

provision shopMy generation grew up with the provision shop- that disorganized and overpacked grocery that sells the common things a family needed but with less choices. Service was personalized and there’s even first name familiarity. You can even get credit and items purchased delivered to your home. But there are limitations: it does not sell everything a family member may need. You can’t get a haircut, or buy fresh food, or a pair of shoes or clothing. They don’t do banking and you can’t get a meal or be entertained with a movie. Sometimes what you want is there but you can’t find it in the mess. However, this is what we grew up with and are comfortable with, even tolerant of.

Shopping mall generation

There is however another generation, now in their thirties and below, who have grown up in a different world. It is the world of the shopping mall. And in this world, in this one place they can obtain nearly everything they needed. The mall is stocked with all kinds of products from all over the world, whether fresh or packaged. It offers services of all shopping mallkinds for all the needs and desires of all age groups. Air-conditioned and alluring, it is the consumer’s paradise. It offers choices. It offers lifestyle. It even confers identity. If I regularly go to a particular shopping mall, I am young and trendy; if another, I am an aunty; if still another, I am a sophisticate’ or yuppie or sporty person or bargain-hunter. This particular generation is comfortable in a shopping mall; but it feels disoriented, disjointed, and lost in the good old small provision shop and find it a hassle, so what if the manager calls them by name and knows their parents!

Megachurch growth is sociological and psychological too

That’s why I believe the megachurch is here to stay and is likely to grow stronger. It’s more than just a spiritual thing; it is also sociological and psychological. The younger generation has been culturally conditioned to feel welcome and comfortable in a megachurch structure because it is so much like the shopping mall they have pleasant experiences of. There they get all their needs met under one roof. More resources means more choices, “products”, even branded ones from USA or Australia; and it means varied and better servicing of the attendees’ needs.

Giants in the land

webThis is one reason for the rise of the contemporary megachurch in our city. Churches like City Harvest Church and New Creation Church are the two notable examples of giants in the land. Are they like spiders organizationally? Without the spider the web will become cobwebs.  I say this with deep respect for the pastors of both churches. This is just an organizational metaphor I recently learned. I use them without any sense of contempt or put down so do not inundate this comment box with “Sour grapes” etc etc.

From spider to starfish

starfishThere used to be a megachurch that dominated the scene: Calvary Charismatic Center. It used to be a spider. It became a starfish a decade or more ago. A wise move. A starfish when cut up regenerates itself and multiplies. That’s what happened to that megachurch now with a new name, Victory Family Church. You find them in all the suburbs: Choa Chu Kang, Sembawang, Yishun, Jurong West, Tampines and where else? Wonderful. The spider can go away for a year and spin another web in East Timor and things are still well with their churches’ souls.

Happy for City Harvest Church and New Creation Church

Having said that I am glad that City Harvest managed to cut a deal and avail itself to a place huge enough for its growing congregation in the suntec Sporecity-Suntec Singapore. $310 million is an amount that seems chewable by 30,000 attendees. Its just about $1000 per year per attendee for ten years. The members must be as happy as when New Creation members heard about their coup at One North, though some may be contemplating a quiet exit . I used to be provocative to stir other Christians to think about issues like stewardship, laws, the lease, alternatives, etc etc. Now I only think up provocative titles, and have come to the view that each church decides what they regard as best in the Lord, and for the church, from the leadership’s discernment. The rest we just leave to posterity to assess. The members who do not like it can zip up their wallet or vote with their feet to the megachurch next door. Or why not walk to the small church next door.

Small church challenges

The small church: well, to be candid, young people are there not always by deliberate choice but because their parents are there; or close friends are there, or they find meaning and purpose in some role or responsibility. But they do feel the pull when their friends talk excitedly about their “shopping mall experiences”. Anyway when was the last time you stepped into a small provision shop? Is this a death knell for small churches of under a hundred? No not really. Haven’t you heard of 7 Eleven? But that is another story: the story of the small church.

Does size matter?

Does size matter in the light of this? Can a megachurch more effectively reach unchurched people who are more used to and comfortable with the shopping mall than with the HDB mom’s and pop’s store? Probably so. However, megachurches do have their weaknesses too. Consumerism, the cultural trait of generation next is one of several things that the megachurch appeals to, and this is the very Achillees’ heel that gives rise to megachurch weaknesses. More on that another time, God willing.

(I am getting lazy. Picked up an old post -28 dec 2007- from my files and just revised it to make it current.)

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  • Parking becomes a problem in small church cause people don’t walk to church for service =)

    On another note, I enjoyed your post!

    • I totally agree with you. Why don’t we give up our 9 car park disc. Instead of first come first basis, these car park disc will be reserved to guest only (& those who invite guest).

      This will encourage our members to walk across the room and bring their friends/relative. We may need the majority to agree and details to be sorted out. Another Option is to try for 6 months and see how it goes.

    • Thought that the adherents to the abundant Grace model would be claiming with chorus of PTLs.

      One would have just to ask for 1000 car parking lot instead of trying to be “realistic” with the current 9 – this type of “realism” would be a “gummer” in the fervent prayer works of a grace charismatic.

      This is to illustrate a point and not meant to mock the deeply ingrained belief (indoctrination?) of some well meaning and affable fellow believers – have been personally told in the past by some of these dear brother and sisters that the only reason or not realizing “riches beyond comprehension”is caused by one’s lack of “faith in grace.”

      Recently Kaffein and Stanley (presume both are from NCC) concurred and concluded that….”I totally agree with you. Makes me wonder why Christians want to be poor thinking that it glorifies God. If it is so, then Solomon must have been in great sin because my bible tells me that God gave Solomon riches and honour. Solomon’s life towards the end because twisted because his foreign wives lead him astray from God. Not money as people so often claimed.”

      This would be an interesting explanation for Solomon, Tiger, Jack, Spitzer – is the reverse logical deduction true?

      If these blessed and rich guys were very poor and had to work hard just to scrape by, wondered if they would have anything left over for their extra marital pursuits?

      One dimensional grace does not take into account the Beatitude in Matt5. Hearing only the good things is more enjoyable but is definitely unbalanced.

      Whilst rational thought leads me to this conclusion…….perhaps I should be like the grace charismatics and start asking “Daddy” for a bright yellow Bently Supersports. Even a preowned with be fine plus also a perpetual debitcard for fuel and expenses of running this car.

      Hopefully “Daddy” does not think it is a tad over the top after all he knows my heart and its desires….yippee!!

      • FYI, one of our church members did ask Daddy God that he win the grand prize for a DBS American Express Black Card lucky draw, and he did win … the grand prize of a jet black Lamborghini Gallardo! His testimony was read out in church while a photo of him with the car was displayed on the screen.

        • Question, did he win after a prayer session or was it just a lottery draw after spending a lot or just the minimum sum on his AMEX black card?

          The casinos in Vegas also celebrate winners of their jackpot with a reception, dancing girls and musical band – understand that US$39.8M was won – wondered if the winner was similarly a unmerited grace charismatic – after all God has more than 1.5B Christians to prosper globally.

          BTW did the blessed man pay tithes on his good fortune?

          • wow stanley, that is some strong prayer! I wonder if I pray for God to ruin someone, and indeed the person has been destroyed, does that mean that God has answered my prayer thanks to my great faith! For even faith as small a small mustard seed can move mountains, wads to kill a few men and get a few lamborghini?

            This is from NLT Romans 1:
            24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies.
            25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

            seriously, what is your point of telling us that testamony? that God will grant us wealth and our desires? So what to you is the true power of gospel of grace? That all of us should pray for lamboghinis and God will give us all that?

            though the verse in Romans talks about sexual immorality, and the “creation” in case refers to our human bodies and not wealth which God bless, it nonetheless does show that God does give in to our desires whether it is holy or not. Just like what Jesus mentioned abt divorce “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning” Matt 19:8

            So seriously, stop telling us God bless us with wealth, we know that. You think we never pray for a building ourselves? We do! But we don’t go boo hoo hoo when God blessings do not reach us (yes btw, God does withhold blessings go refresh yourself with Job, and many others, but Job will do for fine now). We do not go and beat ourselves up and say “omg we haf no faith!”, neither will we say “God has vindicated our great faith!” when He does indeed bless us with a new church building. U know? christians grow up? we stop asking for money and wealth after certain point cuz erm…. perhaps… jus perhaps… seeking His presence is… i dunno… MORE IMPORTANT than wealth and health that He give us?

            We are instructed to give thanks in everything. Similarly, if we take the analogy of Church being the bride of Christ, then certainly our human marriage vows will be a good example of what to do in this marriage with Jesus. For better or for worst, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, we stick to Jesus and praise the Lord.

            The Lord gives, and the Lord can take away. But we still praise the Lord no matter what. Stop harping on the wealth and health God can give us. Though good, that is not the end result that we want. If you want to stay to God just becuz He gives u a lamboghini, good for you, we are not saying it’s wrong, but will be glad if you could still praise Him even if He takes away everything.

            (this is not saying that our God’s desire is to make us poor, or sick, or worst off
            oh and to quote Paul: When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.)

            • Hi Emmanuel,
              Why get so worked up? You believe the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, good for you since this works for you.

              I believe the Lord gives and gives – “I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!” (2 Sam 12:8)

              You don’t have to believe what I believe. By the way, I quoted the testimony of the blessed brother who won the Lambou in the context of what journeyman said – “perhaps I should be like the grace charismatics and start asking “Daddy” for a bright yellow Bently Supersports” with the implication that such prayers will not be answered by God.

              • Wow. am amazed that you can foretell the intent of my prayer – like E says, our avarice and desires are not that different.

                In this case, it is a case of cant beat them join em strategy – within the framework of a pseudo scientific experiment. Assuming God does not play favorites and one has to sow the seed, then the blessings will be unleashed by Daddy…..if one buys about 50K shares in Citibank at around 3.50 and it increases to 10.50, then one would have a gain of about USD300K – enough to buy a fairly new pre-owned.

                The only other variable would be – will one have to listen to JP’s sermon, podcast or in the flesh? and how much time. Maybe should buy at least a lottery ticket or toto ticket also?

                Are they anymore controlled variables we need to seed in?

                Finally, we just need to agree on a period – say 3 months? This should ‘prove” you theory that God gives and gives……

              • Sorry if i sound worked up. But to display our Lord as gives and gives is definitely incorrect. For in the bible there are numerous instances where He gives and when He doesn’t. To tell everybody, Christians and non-christians alike about a skewed version of our Father is not only wrong but perhaps even blashphermy.

                Your reply did not answer the fundamental flaw of such prayers: I pray for things not in accordance to His nature and will, should I expect such answers to be answered by God?

                How does such “testimanies” edify the congregations? That what? Ask audaciously and God will grant everything? Cuz He gives and gives? I’m indeed glad that you believes He gives and gives and if thats what draws you to Him, good for you. However, I fear for the day when you, or those whom you preach to, have to go thru your own journey of wilderness, what will your cry to the Lord then.

                anyway, to summarize, this “give and give” institution negates the suffering that many christians are experiencing overseas. Yeah i noe, you guys will just basically dismiss them as saying they are only suffering as they are not having grace in their lives.

          • Hi journeyman,
            The guy entered the draw by virtue of signing up for the card. By the way, he sold away the car and Pastor Prince confirmed that the blessed man did bring in the tithe on God’s favour.

  • firstly, congratulations to CHC.

    i’m a member of NCC. my main concern is – how will NCC services be affected once CHC takes over? we are already short of space as it is and One-North will only be ready by 2012. in the mean time what will happen to us? I am also worried about the place being over crowded. as it is, my family and i already have difficulty finding a spot at the surrounding foodcourts. i can’t imagine 2 of the largest churches in SG congregation on one location! god help us!

    anyone here has any idea what will happen to NCC once CHC moves in? i hope pastor will address this issue this sunday.

    • hi rk.

      i just want to comment that CHC is only taking over the convention center only and thus, we’ll be having services there. I doubt CHC will have its activities near the Rock aud and I’m sure there’s a way around for the foodcourts since there are many around that area. Furthermore, CHC’s services will most probs be on one day for the start since the members can all fit into one hall. 32,000 members includes all from all services so the english main service should fit in well.

      looking forward to NCC’s new place and thanks for the congrats. hahaha… =)

      • thx edd.

        yes, i know CHC will only be occupying the convention centre. the problem is, NCC also occupies a significant portion of SICEC on a regular basis. we have our children’s ministry (2nd & 3rd flrs), overflow rooms (gallery east & west – 3rd flr) as well as our chinese service (ballroom on 2nd flr). All these are within the convention centre. so i’m concerned what will happen next.

        believe me, looking for food around the vacinity will pose a problem especially for those who eat at foodcourts instead of restaurants. we might need to travel further to look for food. those who drive will also face carpark problems.

        anyway, we will commit the situation to the Lord and trust that He will provide a way for both churches to function and coexists without issue while we wait for One-North to be ready.

          • why is there a need for a merger when NCC is going to move to one-North in 2012?
            I’m sure a solution can be found for this temporary situation of Mar 2011- 2012.

            • Lower operating cost, increase revenue and generate more income and resources to help the less fortunate with?

              Create a more uber mega and start unification of the flock?

              Rival the more traditional denominations and cause more aggregation and consolidation?

              • Seriously, if there should be a merger, it should be between two smaller sized churches, not CHC and NCC since they already have the critical mass to enjoy economies of scale.

                I believe blogpastor has posted an article on this issue before.

                By the way, CHC and NCC are way bigger than the individual churches under the more traditional denominations. Perhaps your suggestion is more applicable to them i.e. those smaller churches within the more traditional denominations merge in order to rival CHC and NCC in size.

  • Dear Journeyman & Stanley,
    I often read Blogpastor but seldom comment. Blogpastor is my beloved Senior Pastor.
    However, I am very disturbed and concerned when both of you mentioned “RIVAL”.
    I may not comment/debate with such long comments, but I strongly felt that this word is very unhealthy and seems to me very challenging, rather honestly speaking, sounds like a stumbling block to me.
    Certainly we have our freedom in our thoughts in sharing, however, can we be more sensible, sensitive to other people’s feelings where this is widely view by Christians and non-Christians? Young and matured Christians, whom may be put-off or stumbled when we/they (especially Young/Youths) read such exchanges between each other. Well, to me at least, this kind of exchanges does not quite reflect Godly love towards each other. Aren’t we suppose to do so so that when non-Christians look at us, we must reflect more of Jesus, as we are made in His likeness?

    Just my 2-cents worth of feelings

  • we are not suppose to rival. We are called to be His instruments to reach out to those unsaved souls, that’s why we do JUST WALK ACROSS THE ROOM and ALPHA COURSE (in WRPF)
    If all we do is compare, debate, and ‘rival’ within the 4-walls (we are in this 4-walls), cos we are all HIS church, ONE CHURCH, not NCC or CHC, or WRPF, how big or how small, how are we then going to reach out to others? how is our heart and attitude towards our Abba Father, isn’t that HE looks at/into our hearts?
    Haha..doesn’t seem just like 2-cents worth of feelings and thoughts after all 🙂

  • Hi cav,
    Semantics, context and syntax are important in communicating ideas, thoughts, emotion and passion. Whilst most of us may share your expressed sentiments, rivalry is a very useful tool to sort the wheat from the chaff. Whilst we understand that wheat is good and chaff is generally waste, it would seem in the 21st century chaff is getting more valuable as a health supplement as a source for fiber.

    Similarly, I feel, (like some others) that the prosperity and grace is at best unbalanced and at worst a populist and effective revenue generating tool.

    Bro Stanley has a rival (possibly competing, contending, opposing, alternative, challenging……..) perspective.

    Differences are to be celebrated as all of us grope our ways towards God. After all we come in many colours, shape, potential and have different culture and languages.

    Like they say in investing – buy the underlying asset and not the glittering derivative.

    • Hi Cav,
      Contrary to what journeyman said, I do not have a rival perspective. To put my comment in context, I was replying to journeyman’s suggestion for CHC and NCC to merge in order to “Rival the more traditional denominations and cause more aggregation and consolidation?” by turning it around, meaning that CHC and NCC do not have to rival with anyone since they are already the two biggest churches in Singapore but if there is to be any rivaling around as suggested by journeyman, then it should be the other smaller churches having to merge rather than CHC and NCC merging.

      • Some Churches are boutiques – not everbody wants to be a Walmart. There are more significant kpi’s beyond just size. Quality before quantity may be such a metric.

      • Hi Stanley,

        Singapore is a small space with a small but dense population – suggestion was to export the “Singapore brand of grace charismatics (NCC and CHC)” to the waiting and possibly hungry region and to the world beyond.

        The Catholics have survived over 2000 years in 24 time zones. Their fixation about celibacy for their clergy will strangle their ability to attract and retain staffing for their numerous churches. or it will be loss of billions of dollars in payout for settling past pedophile behaviors of appointed shepherds. The other smaller breakaways have their own number issues.

        A chance for executing the grand commission or to commission more grand buildings – that is the question.

  • Hi rk,

    To address your concern, you may want to check out the FAQs released by Suntec Singapore on Mar 8, 2010.

    In a nutshell, City Harvest has been issued a license agreement (which will only take effect in March 2010) to lease the 3 halls on the 6th, the Gallery space on the 3rd Floor, and the theatre on the weekends.

    There is also an existing license agreement between Suntec Singapore and New Creation Church that expires only in 2012. New Creation Church will therefore be able to continue to using the various venues at the Suntec Convention Centre.

    Hope this helps.

    Lip Kee

    • Hi LP,

      You seem to be conversant with the mechanics of the CHC-AraHarmony-Suntect REIT financial transaction.

      Can you enlightened us what CHC is getting for $310Mil besides some equity in a company that owns 80% of ARA-Harmony which in turn owns Suntec Convention Centre.

      Understand that “The ARA Harmony Fund is a single-asset private real estate fund which owns the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre (“Suntec Singapore”). Suntec REIT holds a 20% strategic stake in the fund and an affiliate of Cheung Kong Group…presume this is connected to the HK billionaire “SuperLi”

      Are there any conditions precedent before the deal is consummated as I believe it might require a change of use for SSC from being a convention facility to being a partially a weekend church for the rest of the lease term.

      Currently “the deal” does not appear to be very transparent for the equity holders of the listed REITS (Fortune, Suntec, Prosperity, Amfirst) – is it anymore transparent for the CHC stakeholders?

      Are you a CHC stakeholder?

        • Thx for enlightening – seems even the comissioner of charities is interested in the mechanics. SLA is probably so getting curious abt details.

          Most times having excess resources makes on lazy and sloppy in stewardship – yours truly included.

          Steve Job was insightful when he advised students at Stanford to stay hungry and to stay

  • Shalom rk,

    Ps Prince did say they are considering several locations thru out Spore for live video from the Rock. So I think this may be a temp solution till One North is up.

    I believe NCC mgmt will discuss with Suntec mgmt on allocation of spaces. I guess CHC be using halls lvls 4 and 6 to accommodate the congregration.

    • Even when One North is up, there may still be too many people to fit the 5,000 auditorium and other overflow rooms there.

      And since One North is all the way in the West, I’m wondering if New Creation is thinking of what many mega churches in America have done in having multi-site/campus churches. I thought that was what they had in mind before.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they go in this direction since already the 3rd and 4th services are being replayed and the majority of people listen to him through video (live or not) than live.

      CHC has got a really great location. Congratulations to them and may they impact the people in the city area.

      • One North should be able to take more than 7,000 (and if we were to really stretch it, close to 8,000) attendees at each service. So if the church were to run 4 services at One North, like what it is doing now at at Suntec, it should be able to accommodate up to about 32,000 attendees each Sunday

        Nevertheless, to prepare for longer term growth, the church will be looking at setting up a few satellite locations in future.

        In fact, to get the people used to the multi-site concept, we have changed our vocabulary and stopped using the term “overflow rooms” to describe the halls at Suntec Gallery East and West, the rooms at level 4 and 6, and the foyer.

        Together with the Rock Auditorium, all other sites where the people are gathered for the services are now referred to as “venues” or “locations”.

        • Understand from Bro Stanley, you are a NCC member. You are obviously knowledgeable and passionate about corporate affairs (presumably also NCC’s), would be grateful for your elucidation on these 2 points:-

          1. On 15 April 2009, Matthew Kang, the Honorary Secretary of the New Creation Church, posted a reply to The Straits Times on the church’s website stating that the New Creation Church was not a public charity and did not solicit public donations.

          Is it a private exempt company of less than 20 or 50 members – did not find it listed on SGX. So what type of a legal organization is NCC – can you elaborate?

          2. Who was Joseph Prince? – from wikipedia he formerly known as Mr Singh – quite mysterious for a “Church” leader.

  • I am a member of NCC but not worrying about CHC coming to Suntec, because God provides for everyone who seeks his kingdom and his righteousness.

    Isn’t it wonderful when two mega churches share the same place? Suntec will receive double blessings!

    Be restful, God will do the supernatural.

  • One more point to add.

    I know Pastor Kong Hee has written on his blog about “certain cheap grace preacher…”

    Never mind of the post but I really hope to see that one day, Kong Hee and Joseph Prince can be friends and go for Kopi together. In Christ, we love.

  • There seems to be some dis-satisfaction within CHC as noted from their blog sites.

    Their pastor announced they acquired substantial stakes but Suntec issued a clarification that CHC’s stake is not big. Surprisingly, the clarification was published on the Lianhe Zaobao on 9 March but not on the English papers.

    Under the Companies Act, substantial shareholders defined as 5% or more shareholdings.

    In addition, members are also raising query on the breakdown of the $310 million as it include rental costs. Suntec’s rental are not cheap. Seems their members also feeling the stress on their giving.

    • When management keeps you from the project financials, this is referred to as “Mushroom Management” technique.

      Keep everybody in the dark and continue feeding them bovine/equine feces.

  • Reproduced below is an interesting reply by the executive pastor of the City Harvest Church in response to the queries raised by church members.


    Derek on March 11th, 2010 10:16 pm

    Dear John,

    I am Rev Derek Dunn, the Executive Pastor of CHC. Thank you for your post and your vigilance on behalf of all of us. There are however a number of flawed conclusions in your post.

    There is nothing inherently inconsistent between Suntec’s announcement and Pastor Kong’s. Suntec’s statement is a formal legal announcement in compliance with the SGX-ST listing manual and thus uses bare legal terms. Pastor Kong pastors our Church and thus announced this development in terms of how the Church sees this investment.

    You buy your shares in Singtel for investment, the Church invested in the holding company of Suntec because it aspires to co-own the premises it uses within the confines of the law and existing legal arrangements relating to Suntec Convention Centre. There is also a great deal of difference between a stake that may be several decimal points away from 1% and one that is just one share short of 50%, yet both are minority shareholders in the eyes of the law.

    Without breaching our confidentiality obligations, neither the shareholders nor ourselves can say more. We are a Church and not a court of law. Pastor Kong spoke from his heart. After years of exploring many different sites and their pros and cons, and after much heartache and difficulty which it is not possible to share here, Pastor Kong wanted to share the enthusiasm of everyone involved that we finally have a place of worship in a central

    What we can say however is that we are not an investor in a fund. We are not passive with respect to our investment into the convention centre leaving the fund manager to manage our money and our investment.

    While we are tenants of Halls 601 to 603, this is not necessarily an arrangement that we would have made but for our investment into the holding company, without being at liberty to say more.

    From my personal in depth contact with Pastor Kong and serving together with him for more than 15 years, I can say that he would never intentionally bring insult to any person, much less an entire Church. We are all Christians and any inadvertent slight is regretted. Please accept his apologies in peace for any offense taken.

    The present arrangements are the first step of many that the Church will need to take to secure centrally located premises for its congregations. Whether these steps revolve solely around Suntec Convention Centre or any other space it is not appropriate to disclose at this point. The Church is constantly reviewing and evaluating its options and guards carefully the funds entrusted to it by its members.

    We call our project “Arise & Build” because we will not be daunted by the difficulties we have faced or continue to face in securing a permanent place of worship for our congregations in a central location. The building isn’t just of brick and mortar but of spiritual determination. However humble you consider our results, this has been the result of years of determination and
    hard work and personal testimonies on this will, God willing, be
    shared with the whole Church one day.

    As a Church, it is not appropriate for us to conduct our commercial activities directly. In the UK, we understand that the Commissioner in fact requires Churches to form subsidiaries to conduct their commercial activities, and we are advised by our lawyers that our Commissioner in Singapore has similar views.

    Apart from the older Churches who have land in central locations
    historically, there are no religious sites in the city centre. There is no choice for the newer churches such as ourselves but to co-own commercial centers, but always within the confines of the law. We do not run Suntec Convention Centre nor do we intend to do so. That is a commercial activity reserved to commercial people.

    Ironically, it is belief in the courage of the leadership to do what is right even if it attracts calumny that binds the majority of our members rather than blind faith.

    There are easier ways to have avoided the present debate, but there is no intention to hide or plug yours or any other member’s right to comment on the proceedings. We ask only that you consider our response in the spirit in which it is made – a humble, quiet confidence that we have done the right thing for our Church members.

  • Acoording to the new it was read as follows

    ” Legally this means that “CHC has acquired a substantial stake in a consortium company that owns 80 percent of the JV Fund that holds Suntec Singapore,” the Rev. Kong explained to a section of his congregation. ”

    How can Rev Derek Dunn, the Executive Pastor of CHC said that Suntec’s statement is a formal legal announcement in compliance with the SGX-ST listing manual and thus uses bare legal terms and Pastor Kong announced this development in terms of how the Church sees this investment.

    Pastor Kong use the word ” LEGALLY “. He knows what he is talking about and I believe legal counsel have been obtained.

    The man who steer the deal was a director in a lsted financial institution.

  • Quoted from the Straits Times…..

    “MEMBERS of Singapore’s City Harvest Church are being investigated for the misuse of funds.

    The Office of the Commissioner of Charities (COC) and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) is looking into some financial transactions involving several individuals and companies related or connected to the church. This was revealed in a joint statement by the COC and the Singapore Police Force.

    Seven individuals were detained in a raid at 6.30am on Monday by the CAD. During the raid, CAD visited their offices and secured records and accounts as part of the investigation.

    By lunch time, 12 people were said to be assisting in investigations which involve charges of falsification of accounts and criminal breach of trust. The charges are said to be unrelated to previous investigations into City Harvest’s purchase of a $310 million stake in Suntec City Convention Centre.

    The COC had received complaints of misuse of church funds and informed the CAD after assessing that some financial transactions may need to be investigated.

    In the joint statement, the COC and CAD said: ‘Notwithstanding the ongoing investigations, normal services and religious activities of City Harvest Church need not be disrupted and can continue for its congregation.’

    More details to come……..”

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